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You'll be forgiven if all you know about President Obama's recent trip to Asia was that he bowed (ZOMG!) to the Japanese Emperor, but we have to ask you to stop watching so much cable TV news. Things of substance happened during the trip, too, and one of them (hopefully) is a new Electric Vehicles Initiative that the U.S. and China will work together on.

The Initiative is made up of four main parts: joint standards for plugs, battery test protocols and the like; joint demonstrations to compare how plug-ins will be used in the two countries; a joint technical roadmap to plan out what research needs to be done and how it can be used to bring EVs to market; and working together to promote plug-ins. This last point means that the US-China Electric Vehicles Forum that took place in September will become an annual event, moving from the U.S. to China every other year. Read the official announcement after the jump or download the PDF here.

[Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Green Car Congress via Treehugger]

PRESS RELEASE:

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17, 2009

  • Joint standards development. The two countries will explore development of joint product and testing standards for electric vehicles. This will include common design standards for plugs to be used in electric vehicles, as well as common test protocols for batteries and other devices. Each country currently has extensive literature and data on its own standards. Making this information mutually available and working towards common standards can help facilitate rapid deployment of electric vehicles in both countries.
  • Joint demonstrations. The Initiative will link more than a dozen cities with electric vehicle demonstration programs in both countries. Paired cities will collect and share data on charging patterns, driving experiences, grid integration, consumer preferences and other topics. The demonstrations will help facilitate large-scale introduction of this technology.
  • Joint technical roadmap. A U.S.-China task force will create a multi-year roadmap to identify R&D needs as well as issues related to the manufacture, introduction and use of electric vehicles. The roadmap will be made widely available to assist not just U.S. and Chinese developers, but also the global automotive industry. It will be updated regularly to reflect advances in technology and the evolution of the marketplace.
  • Public awareness and engagement. The United States and China will develop and disseminate materials to improve public understanding of electric vehicle technologies. Building on the success of the first-even U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Forum in September 2009, the United States and China will sponsor the event annually, alternating between the two countries. The Forum will bring together key stakeholders in both countries to share information on best practices and identify new areas for collaboration.

FACT SHEET: U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Initiative

Today, President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao announced the launch of a U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Initiative. The two leaders emphasized their countries' strong shared interest in accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles in order to reduce oil dependence, cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote economic growth. Activities under the initiative will include: The United States and China are the world's two largest automobile markets. In the past year, both countries have made unprecedented investments in electric vehicles. In the United States, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expanded a $7,500 consumer tax credit for electric vehicles and included $2.4 billion to support battery manufacturing. The U.S. government has also provided more than $8.5 billion to help automakers retool their factories to produce electric vehicles. China has also provided significant investments for battery research, and its economic recovery package includes significant funding for electric vehicle demonstrations and charging infrastructure
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